Faniel is a tiny Champagne cellar in the heart of Cormoyeux. They make ‘Grower Champagnes’, a term that can only be used when the Champagne is exclusively from the makers own vineyards. It is owned and run by Mathieu Faniel who represents the third generation of this proud family business. It began with his grandfather André, who had the courage to invest in four hectares of the Marne Valley in the dark days that followed WW2. He planted vineyard where once there had been woodland. His sons joined him in the enterprise and it was then Jacques, with his wife Brigitte, who took on the cellars, first occupied by Trappist Monks in 1673.
Mathieu has overseen the expansion of the vineyard to ten hectares and he has also purchased his uncle’s cellar, dug deep in to the hillside, which conveniently sits literally over the road.
Faniel have beautiful south facing vineyards in the amphitheatre of the Brunet valley where the soils are rich in clay and chalk, well drained and well ventilated; all in all, the perfect conditions for producing optimal grapes for Champagne. The vineyards are worked as sympathetically as possible, cover crops between the vines are preferred to herbicides. The objective is preventative viticulture that respects the environment, even machine-use is kept to a minimum to prevent the soils from becoming compacted.
Mathieu is young and has already worked in cellars all round the world, most famously Château Latour (who now both buy his Champagne and supply him with their second hand barriques). His winemaking follows a classic, conventional minimum-intervention ethos. In 2018 the locals of Champagne voted him the best young talent of Champagne, something he is very happy about.